Michael had retrieved us at LaGuardia,  and as we entered the Chappaqua Starbucks, we were greeted by the sparkling eyes of a two-year old.  Eyelashes flickering…. cheeks splashing his unforgettable smile, Eli Bogart was beaming.  “Papa Boos”, he blurted, as this grandfather melted.

Trips east or west without an agenda are special in their own rights. Life cycle events are nice, but the un-orchestrated is often more memorable. Like last weekend.

Max was at camp when we arrived, so my eyes first caught him in our motel hallway hours later. Has it really been five years since that summer of pregnancy, of expectation? Since the ultrasounds?

The kids ate before us, game plan being that Carrie and Meredith’d read them to bed while Michael and I picked up food. Ah but in a scene so reminiscent of my dropping Michael in Manhattan fifteen years ago, we got caught on the wrong side of a procession —this time Mt. Kisco’s annual Firemen’s Parade. (The food got cold; my son got hot; and to the pleasure of absolutely no one, I caught it on tape).

Our first choice would have been to stay at The Kittle Inn. Booked it was, though, so we wound up at the Holiday Inn adjacent to the kids’ camp. Saturday’s day night doubleheader, then, gave us opportunity to see their summer indoor haunt, and their outdoor pool. (Ed. Note 1: My Dad was a great father, but other than baseball, he was not the outdoors type. Frankly, I can’t remember seeing him in a pool but for an occasional volleyball game in the 3-feet at Riviera. Seeing as how those swim club years numbered three, and Cleveland baseball’s but four months, that tells a story). (Ed. Note 2: Michael’s a doting father. Indoors and out. Watching him roll around in the pool with his boys was endearing. To everyone).

No parade before dinner. The Bogarts readied for a party while the soon-to-be Bogarts ordered Chinese. We sat the kids that night, eyes bouncing between network programing and bedroom monitors.


“Papa Boos!” he repeated. “Papa Boos!” Hand in hand, Eli Matthew and I traversed the unfamiliar confines of Muscoot Farm. Thank God the adults were there to identify the farm animals. I was lost. (Ed. Note 3: Yeah, the petting zoo was something else our father didn’t believe in). (Ed. Note 4: Come to think of it— and my brother may correct me if I’m wrong – but I think the only reason we ever went to the regular Cleveland Zoo was because the lodge had some outings there).

Max, of course, big brother that he is, pushed ahead. In the course of the weekend he’d taken a liking to Carrie (his pronunciation rhymes with “sorry”), and the beauty of the whole dynamic was that WHATEVER Max did, Eli would mimic.

There’s something about brothers. Something special.

Sixteen months separate H and I. Less than a year and a half. And don’t get me wrong…growing up…it was both a blessing and a curse. For years our mother dressed us as twins, ‘til she couldn’t. For years he’d tag along with my friends, ‘til he didn’t want to. For years we fought here and there, yet always made up. (Ed. Note 5: To this day I can picture wrestling with him on the carpet of the unmarked line of demarcation between the small dining room and the even smaller kitchen. The flooring had torn; he was poked by a nail and was crying; and our mother’d come to the rescue).

But we were brothers. Always.  We sparred; we jousted; but we were brothers. (Ed. Note 6: In a dozen/plus Boobus Bowls, we were ALWAYS teammates).

Brothers. Like Eli and Max.

***** ***** ***** ***** ***** ***** *****

We returned today. To the work and the play of Ohio.

And ‘though my album of this weekend may fade, one picture won’t dull. It’ll be that of Max and Eli … almost 2, almost 5 … brothers-in-arms. Together.

I pray for all my family. We all do. There’s a dynamic to brothers, however, that trumps other combos. I know it; I’ve lived it; I embrace it.

May these two…these two beautiful brothers… live a life of health and family, and embrace their special nexus knowing though they may sometimes line up on opposite sides of the line of scrimmage, they need never compete.


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